FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There is something unique about the NHL All-Star Beach Festival happening on the sand of Fort Lauderdale Beach this week.
It’s not the beachside hockey games, the post card-like oceanfront background for a photo with the Stanley Cup or even the three-foot tall sand art that looks like something that should be in a gallery.
Inside the beach festival, just off the sand, fans can visit the United by Hockey Mobile Museum.
It’s a generation-spanning collection of hockey history and artifacts that celebrate the sport’s “trailblazers, changemakers and business leaders spanning multiple underrepresented and multicultural demographics,” the league said in a statement.
The museum debuted on Thursday at the All-Star Beach Festival.
“What we wanted to do with this particular experience, and we like to use the word experience instead of museum for the simple fact that it is an experience, we’ve evolved this so it’s a little bit different than how it’s been displayed the last three years where it was a celebration of Black hockey history,” NHL VP of Community Development and Growth Jeff Scott said Thursday. “For this year, we understood that we wanted to continue to highlight the multitude of multicultural and underrepresented individuals across the game of hockey, and what we have here is just that.”
Walking through it, fans will be surrounded by an amazing curation of game-used equipment, photographs, videos, interactive stations and even hockey cards.
The finished product came after eight months of blood, sweat and tears led by Scott and his colleagues.
“We really are committed, as the National Hockey League, to make sure that our game continues to highlight on the uniqueness, on the diversity and most importantly on the inclusion that we want to see in our game,” said Scott. “We have such a rich history of trailblazers, of business leaders, of changemakers that are displayed here.”
It is fitting that the museum’s opening came in South Florida, home to one of the NHL’s leaders in helping grow the game to minorities and underrepresented communities.
Anthony Duclair is one of the founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. He has been at the forefront of the fight against racism and intolerance in the sport of hockey.
Just following Duclair on his Instagram account, he’s often posting videos where he is meeting or skating with children of color, acting as a true ambassador for a cause he deeply cares for.
“From a league’s perspective, we do work closely with the Panthers, and they have been truly committed to growing the game in multicultural demographics, and Anthony (Duclair) has been a true ambassador and a proactive contributor to wanting to make sure that we see more kids of color, to make sure we see more individuals of underrepresented communities having the opportunity to play our game,” Scott said.
The plan is for the museum to visit all 32 NHL markets, as well as several other ancillary locations, between February and June of this year. It will be at the NHL Stadium Series in Raleigh later this month.
The United by Hockey Mobile Museum will be open to all fans visiting the NHL All-Star Beach Festival, which will be open Friday and Saturday at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.